|credit: NASCAR Media|
For the first time since 1970, a NASCAR national series event will be run on dirt. The “MudsummerClassic,” being held at historic Eldora Speedway in New Weston, Ohio on Wednesday, July 24, will feature the stars of the Camping World Truck Series as well as a few dirt racing regulars. Learn a little more about the history of “The Big E,” as Eldora is known, in this week’s Fast Facts.
- Eldora Speedway was built by Earl Baltes in 1954. It was originally a quarter-mile track, expanded to three-eighths-mile in 1956, and finally to a half-mile in 1958.
- The clay oval has 24-degree banking in the turns and 8-degree banking in the straightaways. The one-lap record for the track is 12.707 seconds, set by World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series driver Craig Dollansky in 2002. Eldora Speedway has 17,782 permanent seats, plus “unlimited” seating on the hillside.
- Eldora Speedway hosted its first United States Auto Club (USAC) sprint car race in 1962.
- In 1971, the track hosted the first World 100 dirt late model race, offering an unprecedented $4,000 purse for the winner. Today, the winner takes home a purse of $46,000 from the annual Labor Day weekend show.
- In 1978, when the WoO Sprint Car Series was formed, Baltes quickly booked several events at the track for the new series, including its season finale. Inaugural champ Steve Kinser was given the nickname “King of the Outlaws.”
- From 1981 until 2006, Eldora hosted the one-night 4-Crown Nationals events for USAC Midgets, Sprint Cars and Silver Crown cars, plus the United Midwest Promoters (UMP) Dirt Modifieds. In 2007, Stewart changed the format to a two-night event, with the now-World Racing Group-owned UMP Mods joining the WoO Sprint Cars on Friday night and the three USAC classes racing on Saturday.
- In 1994, the Dirt Late Model Dream debuted with a $100,000 purse for the winner. It has been run each year with the exception of 2001, when Baltes hosted the “Eldora Million,” putting $1,000,000 on the line for the winner of the event. Scott Bloomquist, who is expected to participate in the Truck Series race, is a six-time winner of the Dream.
- Baltes sold the track to three-time Sprint Cup Series champ Tony Stewart in late 2004. The following year, Stewart debuted the “Prelude to the Dream,” a charity race featuring auto racing stars from multiple series in borrowed Late Models. The “Prelude” has been contested eight times, with Stewart winning three times.
- Learn more about Eldora Speedway and check out its annual schedule of events at www.eldoraspeedway.com.